Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Climate change: yay or nay? (Part III)

This is to follow up an earlier post.

I had just been out to pick my son up. I was pleased to have had my hat on. I was 'freezen'. I prefer the word 'freezen' to 'frozen'. Don't ask me why.

There had also been occasions when I was standing on the school playground and hear other parents complain that the weather had been too hot. "Global warming", we all agreed, and then lament a few weeks later than summer had passed us by. "What summer?"

We blinked and the warm dry weather had gone. For the year, it seemed.

I also remember someone expressing her fear for little creatures disappearing because they will not be able to cope with the warmer weather. "Yes," I said, "that is probably the case. But nature always finds a way to adapt. Some parts of the UK, it seems are able to produce grapes. Some people are pleased."

I'm in a business which has a 'mission' to protect the environment. I cannot be certain if our CO2 emissions are to blame for global warming. But adopting a version of Pascal's wager, then it is safer to err on the side of caution.

I have, however, never been a fan of the concept of carbon-trading. I think it is merely a money-making idea that someone has come up with, and the powers-that-be said, "Hurray! We can now continue to pollute with a clear conscience."

But I believe that we must do our best to reduce the use of fossil fuels. It has nothing to do with global warming as such. Too many wars have been fought (and are being fought) over oil. We have become so dependent on oil, and I think if we wish our future generations to have a life as comfortable as ours, it is our duty to conserve the use of oil.

I believe that we must also conserve our forests. These have taken years and years to grow and play their part in absorbing the CO2 and providing biodiversity. To have ancient trees felled just so that we could have the convenience of blowing our noses onto pieces of virgin tree pulp? When there are alternatives why don't we try them?

Biodiversity is important. Organic agriculture (and horticulture) depends on the symbiosis of different species co-existing. Monocultures weaken the eco-system. Compare with a human grouping blessed only with one strength, eg. in having extremely good hearing. But what good is it to have good hearing if all the individuals in this group have no legs?

Eco-systems thrive when there is a sufficiently large basis for that difference and diversity.

And that is why even when wood/paper is said to come from 'sustainably managed sources' it is still best to curb our wanton usage that only feeds the logic for monocultures.

I believe we must reduce the use of pesticides. The costs to the earth, water and human beings is far too high. Our desire for cheap cotton and cheap food only feed the rich multi-national companies that churn out these chemicals which sometimes kill their own workers. Why go down this road when we know there is an alternative?

I guess when I distil my thoughts on this matter, it is better to err on the side of caution. So I reduce my flying and driving, turn off unnecessary lights, buy local as much as possible, etc. Even if/when global warming is found to be a sham, the other issues mentioned here concerning fossil fuels, pesticides, biodiversity, etc. still matter.

The good news is we can do something about these.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Small and Proud

OK, I must confess I am a Strictly Come Dancing fan. As I started this post I thought of Heather Small because I could hear her song, "What have you done today to make you feel proud?"

Or something like that.

Our freezer continues to be rather bare and we are wasting much less food than we used to.

Amongst other things I learned that though sliced bread is convenient a whole loaf of bread keeps better.

Like many people I know I am hopeless at slicing bread. It usually looks OK when I start at the top but 'it' usually disappears before the knife gets to the bottom of the loaf and I'd have a slice of bread with no crust on the bottom half. Not any good for toasting as it would burn.

It was interesting then to hear mum-in-law congratulate herself on being able to slice bread quite well when she was over to mind our child over a weekend. "Your bread knife is nice and heavy and it goes straight down."

Even mum-in-law who had difficulty slicing bread found it easy enough when using our bread knife. That gave me a lot of confidence.

Now we buy whole loaves, and with only one surface exposed after that first cut, our bread is lasting longer. There is less 'surface area' for mould to get going. And even if it does get mouldy, one could just slice off that offending bit. (Downside: no bread-and-butter pudding!)

Because I am slight of build I always opted for light tools. But it takes a heavy bread knife to help me do a good job of slicing bread. So what seems a logical choice/move does not always give the best result. Just listen to my son here.

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